After applauding many of Governor Hochul’s climate-related budgetary decisions, environmental groups are outraged by a last-minute move in the state budget bill to change how New York monitors methane emissions.
The governor is pressing for legislation to make the change, which supporters claim will prevent New Yorkers from paying more significant energy costs, to be included in the state’s already-late spending plan.
The measure, which supports fossil fuel interests, is opposed because it is believed to hinder the transition to renewable energy and jeopardize the state’s efforts to meet its high energy and climate goals.
“This is quite unsettling. The fossil fuel business has been trying to put things off repeatedly. We are aware of their strategy.
And that’s precisely what this proposal will do,” said Liz Moran, an Earthjustice policy advocate, at a rally on Monday at the Capitol. Communities will suffer if we continue to rely on filthy gas longer than necessary.
Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) has sponsored legislation requiring New York to calculate the warming impact of methane gas on a 100-year time scale rather than a 20-year time frame.
The 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act set goals to achieve 70% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040.
If the change is implemented, utilities could continue burning methane, also known as natural gas, and other fossil fuels for longer than required by that act.
Additionally, it requires the state to cut emissions by 85% by 2050 and by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030.
Methane emissions are commonly recorded in terms of carbon dioxide equivalents throughout much of the United States and the rest of the world using a methodology that considers the greenhouse gases’ ability to cause global warming over 100 years.
There has been a demand in the scientific community to utilize the 20-year meter to properly assess the influence of methane on climate change because it has a far larger capacity to store heat while having a considerably shorter lifetime than carbon dioxide.
Hochul’s office told Politico earlier this week that the government is concerned with affordability regarding the budget and climate measures.
Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and Doreen Harris, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, claimed that lowering costs for consumers as the state works to reduce pollution is the driving force behind weighing the change in an opinion piece that was published on lohud.com on Monday.
The administration officials stated, “We are pursuing this shift to combat climate change at a time when many New Yorkers are hurting financially and economically.
“We closely examine consumer cost consequences at Hochul’s instruction to ensure we meet our climate goals while safeguarding New Yorkers.”